The Insider Wrap is a recap of everything you need to know from the week (or two) that was. This weekend, the 2023 Grand Slam events came to a close, and Coco Gauff's summer reached its storybook conclusion with the US Open title.
Performance of the Week: Coco Gauff
Once it began, her ascent was unstoppable.
Following the disappointment of a first-round defeat at Wimbledon, Gauff bounced back, securing her first WTA 500 title in Washington, D.C. Her ascent continued as she grabbed her first WTA 1000 title, in Cincinnati, two weeks later. Entering the US Open, Gauff was the undeniable star of the hard-court summer, but could she go all the way?
As the shirt says, Call Her Champion.
A t-shirt fit for a champion. pic.twitter.com/KfKMyhKcHt— US Open Tennis (@usopen) September 9, 2023
Four years after bursting onto the professional scene as a supernova at 2019 Wimbledon, Gauff, still just 19 years old, reached the zenith of her career (so far) by topping new World No.1 Aryna Sabalenka and winning her first Grand Slam title, on home soil to boot.
More on Gauff:
- Champions Corner: The sounds and stars of Coco Gauff's US Open journey
- The US Open is Gauff’s crowning moment, fulfilling her great promise
- From Obamas to Federer, celebs soak in Gauff's rousing US Open win
Gauff is now 18-1 in her past four events and up to a new career-high ranking of World No.3, but she continues to keep perspective as she moves into the next phase of her career as a newly-minted Grand Slam champion.
Coco Gauff went from being a kid in the stands to a US Open champion.— US Open Tennis (@usopen) September 9, 2023
Anything is possible. pic.twitter.com/1kce1ANO6E
"This is a big achievement, but honestly, I feel like I've been so used to this since I was basically 15 years old," Gauff said after her win. "I'm sure it might be a much bigger scale now because of this achievement, but I'm ready. I embrace it. I know how to keep my peace but also embrace all of this around me.
"I think the pressure has been taken off a little bit, and I still am hungry for more. But I'm just going to enjoy this and try not to look into the future."
Milestone of the Week: Aryna Sabalenka
After leading Gauff by a set in the final, Sabalenka fell one win short of her second Grand Slam title this year. Despite the loss, Sabalenka has still hit another milestone. On Monday, she made her debut as the World No.1 player.
4 - Aryna Sabalenka is the first player to make the semi-finals of all four Grand Slams in a season since Serena Williams in 2016. Distinguished. #USOpen #USOpen2023 | @usopen @WTA @WTA_insider pic.twitter.com/UM3yEuN7PW— OptaAce (@OptaAce) September 6, 2023
Sabalenka's 23 match-wins at Grand Slam events this season -- the most on tour -- helped boost herself to the peak of the rankings. Moving forward?
"It's good so that I can say I have been World No.1, but I really would like to finish the year as World No.1," Sabalenka said after the US Open final. "That's why I'm still positive, and I'm still motivated."
Karolina Muchova: The Czech added another splendid Grand Slam performance to her resume by reaching the US Open semifinals. This year's Roland Garros finalist Muchova rises to a career-high No.8 in the rankings as she contends for a spot at the WTA Finals.
Madison Keys: The 2017 US Open finalist reached her sixth career Grand Slam semifinal and was a hair away from ousting Sabalenka to make the final. Keys is now one ranking spot away from a return to the Top 10.
Sorana Cirstea: At the US Open, the Romanian made her second Grand Slam quarterfinal -- over 14 years after her first, which came at 2009 Roland Garros. Cirstea has been excellent on American hard courts this year, having reached the Indian Wells quarterfinals and Miami semifinals in March.
Gabriela Dabrowski and Erin Routliffe: In only their fourth event as a team, the No.16 seeds battled through the US Open draw to capture their first Grand Slam title in women's doubles. Dabrowski adds this trophy to her two Grand Slam mixed doubles titles.
Katherine Hui: Playing in only her second junior Grand Slam event, Hui rolled to the Junior US Open title without losing a set. A high school valedictorian, Hui now heads into her freshman year at Stanford University later this month.
Anna Danilina: A women's doubles runner-up at the 2022 Australian Open, Danilina joined the roll of Grand Slam champions by pairing with Harri Heliovaara to win the US Open mixed doubles title. Danilina and Heliovaara had never met until they signed up for the event on site.
Photo of the Week
Proud parents Corey and Candi admire Coco's newest and biggest prize.
60: Gauff is the 60th woman to win a Grand Slam singles title in the Open Era, which started in 1968. Narrowing that down to US Open champions, Gauff is the 28th woman to claim that title in the Open in this period.
4: The 19-year-old Gauff is the fourth American to win a Grand Slam singles title as a teenager in the Open Era. The others are all former World No.1 players -- Chris Evert, Tracy Austin and Serena Williams.
1 - Coco Gauff is the the first American teenager to win a Women's Singles Grand Slam title this Century and the first since Serena Williams at the US Open 1999. Outstanding.#USOpen #USOpen2023 | @usopen @WTA @WTA_insider pic.twitter.com/Fwg3wR0EIE— OptaAce (@OptaAce) September 9, 2023
3: Sabalenka became the third woman in the Open Era to reach a Grand Slam singles final after losing the first set of her semifinal 6-0, joining Stefanie Graf (at 1992 Roland Garros) and Ana Ivanovic (at the 2008 Australian Open). However, all three of those players went on to lose the final.
100: Venus Williams became the fourth player in the Open Era to contest 100 women's singles matches at the US Open, joining her sister Serena (123), Chris Evert (113) and Martina Navratilova (106).
Point of the Week
In the stirring rally below, Sabalenka showed off the world-class power that won her the first set of the US Open final ... and Gauff simultaneously exhibited the speed and tremendous grit that eventually led her to win sets two and three.
With the US Open officially in the books, two events will take place this week at tour level. Three Top 10 players have headed across the United States, as Ons Jabeur, Caroline Garcia and Maria Sakkari are the top seeds at the WTA 500 Cymbiotika San Diego Open.
And the autumn Asian swing will kick off with the WTA 250 Kinoshita Group Japan Open Tennis Championships in Osaka, Japan. China's Zhu Lin is that event's No.1 seed.